I always enjoy ‘light-bulb’ jokes and usually make an effort to remember them. My favourite ones have to do with church people:
How many Reformed Christians does it take to change a light-bulb?
As many as is needed to write a treatise on the theology of changing light-bulbs.
How many Charismatics does it take to change a light-bulb?
Seven. One to change the bulb and six to share the experience.
How many Fundamentalists does it take to change a light-bulb?
Change? Are you out of your mind?
You may smile, but these jokes convey an important truth. Different religious movements are usually known by the particular truths they tend to emphasise.
Throughout the ages certain denominations have excelled in the study of the Scriptures as well as in expository preaching and teaching, and they have been used of God to supply the church with mind-boggling volumes of rock solid theology. Others have emphasised a vibrant and personal relationship with God, and they have been used of God to fire up the hearts of God’s people. Still others have emphasised the fact that Christians are called to be holy and separate, and they have been used of God to resist the spirit of the age as it constantly seeks to infiltrate the church.
Who is right? Clearly they all are. We need the one as much as we need the other. We need the head, the heart and the hand. We need the thinkers, the feelers and the doers. Or, as Jesus instructed us, we need to love God with all our mind, all our heart and all our strength.
The challenge for Christians is to integrate all three these dimensions of our faith. Choose one at the expense of the others and you run the risk of ending up with intellectualism, fanaticism or pharisaism.